For "Wall-E" director, art mixes well with commerce

Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:30pm EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - If there ever was a person meant to make a movie about a U.S. Civil War soldier from the Confederate States of America stranded on the planet Mars, it just may be Andrew Stanton, director of animated hit "Wall-E."


A soldier of the confederacy was a "rebel" in the 1860s when the United States fought its war between the states, and Stanton also comes from a pack of rebels -- the filmmakers at Disney-Pixar -- whose movies like "Wall-E" have time and again defied conventional Hollywood wisdom and become smash hits.

"Wall-E" debuts on DVD on Tuesday with some extra features but as much as anything, at its core is the movie about a little robot, stranded on Earth, who falls in love with another robot sent to do a survey of the planet.

It never was a standard Hollywood plot -- in fact, for much of the movie there is no dialogue -- but with hits ranging from "Toy Story" to "Finding Nemo" and "The Incredibles," Disney-Pixar has never been known for typical ideas.

"To me it seems bass ackwards when you're asking yourself, 'Okay, what has the rest of the world accepted and what will they accept next?' That just seems weird. That's like looking at (movies) like a businessman," Stanton said about the way he and the filmmakers at Disney-Pixar approach story ideas.

"That is the last way we think. Almost to a fault, we think like artists: 'What is it that would excite me? ... For most artists, typically, the answer is something that's challenging, never been done before, risky and outside the norm."

"Wall-E" was all of that, and this past summer it raked in big bucks at box offices with a worldwide haul of $485 million. It is still playing in some overseas markets.   Continued...